You believe you deserve a pay rise but your manager isn’t on board. Do you look for another job and use that offer to negotiate a better deal with your boss?
Job offer as leverage
Executive coach Kirstin Ferguson says beware.
“I have never known things to end well when someone tries to leverage another job offer with their current boss. It is something you should only ever do if you are truly prepared to walk away and take the other role,” Kirstin said.
Before you head down that path and assuming you want to keep the job, you can go back to your boss and respectfully ask them for feedback on what they need to see from you in order to be considered for a promotion or a pay rise in the future, Kirstin recommends.
“Don’t use the new job offer as a threat, rather deliver the decision you have made and move on.”
Risks and benefits of leveraging a job offer
The risks associated with trying to leverage a job offer to get a raise or promotion is that you could get shown the door.
If your company doesn’t give you what you want and you stay, your bosses may be slightly worried that you could jump ship at any time.
However, there are also benefits to this tactic. If you truly understand your value to the company and are indispensable, the company will come up with some sort of package or schedule that will give you most, if not all, of what you want.
1. Know what you want
Walk into a meeting with your manager with a clear understanding of what you need and want. If you want a title change, come to the meeting with some options. If it’s a raise you’re after, be ready to present a salary range that makes sense in the context of your offer.
2. Remember: Money is not everything
If your company doesn’t have the budget for a pay increase, they may be able to give you a more significant title which will ensure a higher salary in your next role. Or, perhaps you’ll get more vacation time.
3. Research your position
Perform market research on your role and its value. Knowing what your skills, experience, and education are worth in the marketplace is critical to convincing your boss that the company should ante up to keep you.
4. State your commitment
Reassure your manager that while you have an offer in hand, your goal is to grow your career where you are now.
5. Don’t lie about an offer
Lying about a job offer can easily blow up in your face. Don’t do it.
But if you have one, don’t give away too much information about it if you’re hoping your employer will counter with a higher number.
If the boss wants details on how much is being offered, provide a range.
If the offer is for $100,000, but you’d be willing to stay for $95,000, then suggest saying the offer is between $97,000-$110,000.
7. Be likable
People are going to fight for you only if they like you. Anything you do in a negotiation that makes you less likable reduces the chances that the other side will work to get you a better offer. Ask for what you deserve without seeming greedy, pointing out deficiencies in the offer without seeming petty, and being persistent without being a nuisance.
8. Show your worth
Help employers understand why you deserve what you’re requesting. Always tell the story that goes with it. If you have no justification for a demand, it may be unwise to make it.
9. Know your interviewer
Negotiating with a prospective boss is very different from negotiating with an HR representative. You can perhaps afford to pepper the latter with questions regarding details of the offer, but you don’t want to annoy someone who may become your manager with seemingly petty demands.
And focus on the questioner’s intent, not on the question. An employer who asks whether you would immediately accept an offer tomorrow may simply be interested in knowing if you are genuinely excited about the job, not trying to box you into a corner.
If you don’t like the question, don’t assume the worst. Rather, answer in a way that addresses what you think is the intent, or ask for a clarification of the problem the interviewer is trying to solve.